How to get rid of laziness?
In general, you shouldn’t be trying to get rid of a core emotion or motivation that human beings feel, such as laziness. Like fear, it has a purpose and helps keep us alive and/or healthy.
So I’d like to clear one thing up: we will always have times when we feel lazy, but to actually do something lazy like procrastinating, I will assume that is the main thing you’d like to prevent or minimize.
It’s true that laziness can pose a threat to your life goals, particularly job and career goals. I just want you to ask first whether you really are lazy, or if you are just subscribing to unnecessarily high standards of productivity.
Honestly, I hate growth hacking, productivity hacks, strict schedules, and all forms of extreme optimization of the human lifestyle, especially for monetary output. That’s not my style of living, I don’t like to be that busy, for anything.
I say this so you know: I am the kind of guy who is always going to answer questions about productivity and laziness first with: have you found a way to get your work done and make progress, at the speed you want to go, being as productive or ‘lazy’ as you currently are? If yes, so what? Something to ask yourself, that’s my take on it. Next to eating too much, I believe the biggest problem in the modern world right now is working too much.
Looking back, I’m bemused by my younger self and how stringent he was about baby’s first entrepreneur goals. I wonder “Why was I so hard on myself? Why was I so obsessed with not being ‘lazy?” Either way, I’m happy where I am now, and the time it took to get there. Finally, I feel obligated to say that laziness on its own might not be the problem. If you really feel paralyzed with laziness, it’s likely due to something else, like an unsupportive social environment or a workaholic complex.
We’re talking about recursive problems. How do you learn how to learn? You learn. And how do you work your way into being a harder worker? You work. The experience will guide you. Not at the pace, you’d prefer now, likely, but it will.
Anyway, here are four proven tips to shake off laziness.
#1 Build a Positive Environment:
It’s often said that we are the sum of the 5 people we spend the most time with, and it’s really truer than it seems. Keep yourself away from distractions and negative people, or balance them to reduce the strain on your mind. Much as we like to pretend to be invincible intellects who make every single decision as an independent, free thought, the reality is that we are influenced by the things we do, say, think, watch, what we expect every day, what we tolerate and don’t tolerate, and much more.
Our thought loops are one part external stimulus, one part learned internal reactions. The more you enjoy positive things that cause a positive internal feeling, the easier it will become to just feel good at will, even in the middle of a bad day. It might sound crazy, but it’s real. A positive mindset is like an energy force field protecting you all the time, even when you’re not near the things that fed the energy to you at the moment. You decide how much junk you want to clean out of your life. You also decide what’s actually junk versus what brings value to your life. And don’t be too harsh. You’re not going to win an award for giving up video games or never eating out again. Just look at the things that seem to bring the most negativity. Then minimize them just a little, and see if you like the daily result.
At the least, I recommend trying to expand and sharpen the quality of your social circle based on your most prescient interests. Thanks to the internet, it’s incredibly easy to meet and talk to people who are trying to achieve the exact same things you are. There’s no excuse. Even if not a single person in your day-to-day social life supports you or helps you, you can form a war room of internet connections, helping each other succeed.
#2 Split your daily tasks into smaller, actionable steps:
Confidence is largely about momentum. It’s not about big wins, it’s about many frequent wins, back to back. Focus on daily tasks looking into the week or so. The goal is to do those things, not to achieve a certain result. You learn from the result and benefit no matter what.
#3 Do something important for 30 minutes and then rest:
This is an old copywriting trick, but it can apply to anything difficult. You set a timer for 30 minutes on the thing you need to do. Then, during that time, you either do that thing or you do nothing. No other activities are allowed, even if that means you just sit still for 30 minutes. Then take a 10-minute break and do whatever you want, even another 30-minute session if you want.
This is a great way to push through procrastination urges and develop some momentum. Oh, and always stop at 30 minutes and take that break. Don’t disrespect the back and forth, or you will feel sloppier and be more prone to procrastinating. Ironic, but true. With challenging, long-term self-improvement activities, such as working out or building a business, you need to resist the urge to binge. Most people binge something new and then drop it because bringing was too hard. But then they say the activity was too hard. Be smarter than that. Create a manageable activity ritual like this and then stick to it.
#4 Re-establish motivation:
You can only force plants to grow so quickly. Everything takes time, and if you don’t take some of that time to break away from the grind and re-consider your motivations and goals, you will actually end up slowing yourself down.
You can work, when it’s time to work, as much as you need to. You can even go the extra mile sometimes. But do not neglect the other side, the time to rest or relax, to live your life. Go somewhere away from where you work, do something that takes you briefly out of contact with your regulars. Little vacations like this give you a chance to think about whether your goals are still the same because they probably aren’t if you’ve been at it for a while. The more you learn, the more you will update your goals.
That should do it. Again, be careful about hyper-productivity, but yes, there might be some opportunities to get more progress on the things that matter to you. Feel free to reply if you have any questions.